Hillary Clinton Comes Out Against TPPA

HIllary CLinton

According to The Guardian, Hillary Clinton has broken with Obama and come out against the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signed in Atlanta earlier this week.

I believe Clinton’s reversal is a clear reaction to Bernie Sanders’s vigorous populist campaign for the Democratic candidacy. Despite his longstanding support for Israel and US militarism, Sanders is an outspoken opponent of TPPA.

Clinton can’t help but be wary of the legions of young people attracted to his campaign, his impressive polling in key primary states* nor his impressive impressive fundraising prowess. According to CNN as of 9/3015, Clinton had raised only slightly more money than Sanders.

The Guardian article refers to a taped interview with PBS News Hour, in which Clinton states, “As of today (10/7/15), I am not in favor of what I have learned about it”.

She adds, “I don’t have the text, we don’t yet have all the details, I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”

Clinton specifically criticizes the TPPA’s failure to address currency manipulation. She also feels, under TPPA, that “pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits and patients and consumers got fewer”.

This is a clear reversal for Clinton. Previously a staunch supporter of TPPA, she played a leading role in its negotiation while serving as secretary of state.

According to the Guardian article, Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley also opposes the TPPA, as do Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Rick Santorum.

For more on Clinton’s reversal on TPPA, here’s the original article.

Clinton’s sudden reversal and Trump’s strong opposition to TPPA suggest the secret so-called trade agreement (it’s really an agreement to suppress sovereign democratic rights in favor of multinational corporations) is in for a rocky ride when it goes to Congress for approval the first week in January.

All members of House and one-third of the Senate are up for re-election in 2016. Democratic candidates will be under pressure to distance themselves from Obama’s unpopular presidency while the Republicans in Congress will be keen to distance themselves from mainstream Republicans Tea Party voters are so angry with.

For more information why TPPA is such a bad deal for the ordinary citizens in all 12 countries that are signing it, see Wikileaks Leaks TPPA Draft


*  New Hampshire, one of the first primary states, is the only state in which Sanders out polls Clinton ( 46% to 30%) . Nevertheless polling in Iowa and other key primary states show he’s rapidly eating into her lead.

 

 

 

Was Silk Road Founder Framed?

The Deep Web

Directed by Alex Winter (2015)

Film Review

The Deep Web is about the January 2015 trial of the alleged founder of the Silk Road website Ross Ulbricht. In addition to exploring Ulbricht’s background and the history of the Silk Road, the documentary also lays out some pretty revealing evidence US District Judge Katherine Forrest disallowed at trial. Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment for drug sales, money laundering, hacking and engagement in a continuing criminal enterprise (kingpin charge). The filmmaker clearly believes Ulbricht was denied a fair trial.

The film begins by explaining what the Dark Web is, ie the unindexed records on the Internet. The Dark Web, which is thousands of times larger than the visible Internet, includes millions of bank records, as well as private and government administrative records. It also includes illicit sites like Silk Road.

Silk Road was created in 2011 by combining two cryptographic technologies: TOR (an open source technology originally developed by the US military), a browser that allows a user to access the Internet anonymously, and bitcoins, a cryptographically generated currency which, unlike bank-generated currency, is virtually untraceable.

Silk Road Founded as Political Statement

Silk Road didn’t actually buy or sell drugs. It simply provided a secure eBay-type marketplace where buyers and sellers could link up anonymously. Over time Silk Road developed an extremely tight knit user community that participated in the site’s political forums. One of the lead administrators, who took the screen name Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR)*, always maintained that Silk Road was less about selling drugs than making a political statement. DPR presented himself as a free market libertarian and talked a lot about resisting state efforts to control every aspect of our lives. All the Silk Road administrators were unified in their desire to end the war on drugs** and the extreme violence associated with it.

This fundamental nonviolent stance was reflected in their refusal to accept sellers offering products or services that caused people harm, such as prostitution or child pornography.

The Cryptoanarchist Movement

The Deep Web also provides interesting background on the radical cryptoanarchist movement that would eventually lead to the emergence of Wikileaks, Anonymous and Silk Road. A primary goal of this movement has been to create a world where the government can’t spy on everything we do. Members feel they have an implicit duty to develop encryption tools that non-tech savvy Internet users can employ to protect their privacy and anonymity.

Before the FBI shut it down in 2013, Silk Road had over one million registered users. According to cops, judges and FBI and DEA agents filmmakers interviewed, the site accomplished its goal in reducing violence associated with the drug trade.

Judge Disallows Evidence of FBI Crimes

The defense Ulbricht attempted to present was that he founded Silk Road but wasn’t Dread Pirate Roberts, as the prosecution claimed – that the individual using this screen name had taken over the website and framed him.

In March 2015, two federal agents were indicted (after a nine month investigation) for infiltrating Silk Road and stealing and extorting millions in bitcoins from Silk Road clients. These agents had high-level access to administrative functions of Silk Road, thanks to an administrator they arrested who turned informant. These federal agents had the power to change access to administrator platforms and passwords and to change PIN numbers and commandeer accounts, including that of DPR. They also had the means to manipulate logs, chats, private messages, keys, posts, account information and bank accounts. And they had the motive to alter data in order to cover up their own actions and point guilt elsewhere.

Judge Forrest barred Ulbricht’s attorney from presenting any of this evidence at trial.

She also disallowed evidence the FBI had illegally hacked into Silk Road’s servers in Iceland without a warrant – a violation of Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. If her ruling is allowed to stand on appeal, it sets a dangerous precedent for allowing evidence resulting from illegal government hacking to be used at trial.


*Dread Pirate Roberts was a fictional character in the novel and movie The Princess Bride. In both, when the original Dread Pirate Roberts dies, his successor takes up the alias.
**The libertarian think tank Cato Institute has taken the position that the US should legalize all addictive drugs as Portugal has done. See The Cato Institute and the Drug War

For an update on Ulbricht’s appeal and to donate to his legal defense fund (like I did) go to
http://freeross.org/

Obama Loses Senate Vote on TPP(A)

tppa protest

Wellington anti-TPPA protest Nov 2014

Yet another victory for our side. The tide seems to be turning against corporate America.

Today the Guardian reported that Tuesday’s 52-45 senate vote shut down further discussion of the Transpacific Partnership Agreement. Owing to the threat of filibuster, this procedural vote required at least 60 “ayes” in order to let the Senate host discussions on whether or not to give the president “fast track” authority.* Failure to reach that threshold puts the future of the TPP(A) in jeopardy.

The proposal was defeated by Democrats wanting to add measures to protect US workers and prevent currency manipulation.

Most analysts agree that the eleven other countries negotiating TPP(A) are unlikely to agree to the treaty unless they know the US Senate will approve it without modification.

Many also believe the setback spells an end to any chance the US will sign up to the TPP(A) before the next US presidential election in late-2016.

According to the Guardian, TPPA opponents have been emboldened by the growing influence of liberal senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and were joined by all but one Senate Democrat in voting against moving forward with TPP.

Only one Democrat, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, backed the measure. Pro-trade Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who championed the fast track measure in committee, changed his vote to “no.” He’s insisting that fast track be bundled together with three other trade bills, including one that would impose import duties on countries that manipulate their currencies for unfair trade advantage.

TPP is a secret treaty being negotiated behind closed doors without input from the public or elected representatives. Documents released by Wikileaks in March revealed the TPP(A) has a clause known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). It means if local or national governments enact legislation for greater environmental protections, health regulations or rules to assist local businesses – anything that interferes with foreign corporations’ profits – the corporations can sue them in secret tribunals run by corporate lawyers.

Here in New Zealand, we are especially concerned about a clause in the leaked text that would allow pharmaceutical companies to sue us for using generic drugs (in preference to brand named drugs) in our National Health Service. We’re also concerned the TPP(A) would enable Monsanto to sue us over laws that prohibit farmers from planting GMO crops.

Besides the US and New Zealand, the other 10 countries involved in TPP(A) negotiations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico Peru, Singapore, the and Vietnam.

Read more here


*With “fast track” authority, the Senate would be forced to vote a bill approving TPP(A) up or down without amending it.

Anonymous: A Global Force to be Reckoned With

We are Legion: The Story of the Hactivists.

Brian Knoppenberger (2012)

Film Review

We are Legion lays out the history of Anonymous, the leaderless global network of Internet activists who can shut down and/or hack the website of virtually any government or corporation. In June 2011, sixteen members of this anonymous network became publicly  known after the FBI arrested them for attacking the websites of Paypal, Mastercard and Amazon for their refusal to process Wikileaks donations.

I was quite surprised to learn that the origins of Anonymous were totally apolitical. The hacker culture that led to the formation of Anonymous originally grew out of MIT prank culture. The MIT student body’s IRL (in-real-life) pranks preceded their online pranking. I visited the MIT campus for my daughter’s graduation, and the tour she gave me include a history of some of the more clever pranks, eg the Volkswagen MIT’s model railroad club put on the roof of the administration building.

Interest in online pranks and hacking led to the formation of online hacking groups, such as Cult of the Dead Cow, LOPHT and Electronic Disturbance Theater. It was in these groups hackers learned how to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The goal of a DDoS attack is to shut down a website by having tens of thousands of people link to it simultaneously.

Over time these early groups morphed into 4Chan, an image-based bulletin board where people used their anonymity to post the vilest and most disgusting images, comments and memes they could think of. The primary goal was to think up new ways of offending people. This included creative trolling and hacking of mainstream websites, often by plastering them with pornographic images.

4Chan Becomes Political

4Chan’s first political target was Hal Turner, a Neo-Nazi Internet radio producer. The techniques used against Turner included DDoS attacks, delivering hundreds of pizzas and industrial pallets to his home, signing him up for escort services, posting phony Craigslist ads in his name and hacking his email account.

By 2008, this weird international network of Internet pranksters numbered in the millions, and they took in their first major political target: the Church of Scientology. Their run-in with the Scientologists stemmed from a ludicrous promotional video Tom Cruise made for YouTube, which they posted to tens of thousands of websites. This, in turn, generated a barrage of threats from the Church’s legal team. The Scientologists have a long history of threatening journalists and educators who try to investigate their cult-like activities.

4Chan retaliated by tying up the Scientology hotline with prank calls and DDoS’ing their website. They also disseminated a simple, open source (free) computer game called Low Orbit Ion Canon which enabled each of their members to link to the Scientology website 800,000 times.

Anonymous is Born

On January 21, 2008, 4Chan activists launched their first video under the name of Anonymous. It called for mass protests at all worldwide Scientology offices. Protestors were instructed to bring no weapons and cover their faces to keep from being identified. The choice of the Guy Fawkes Mask (from the 2006 film V for Vendetta) was a lucky accident.

guy fawkes mask

The protests started in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. Eventually several hundred people turned out in every major city in the world. As it was the first time any of them had met offline, teen 4Chan nerds were astonished at the number of female and older activists in their midst.

Operation Avenge Assange

More online Anonymous protests followed, culminating in Operation Avenge Assange in December 2010. Following Wikileaks’ release of more than 100,000 secret US diplomatic cables, Paypal, Amazon and Mastercard tried to cripple them by suspending financial services to their website. Anonymous responded by DDoS’ing and shutting down the websites of Paypal, Amazon and Mastercard.

In February 2011, Anonymous provided assistance to Tunisian and Egyptian activists whose governments were trying to suppress their Internet access.

Following the Arab Spring protests, the formation of Lulz Sec caused a split in the Anonymous membership. Lulz Sec hactivists were into stealing credit card numbers and other personal information for malicious purposes. Other Anonymous members strongly believed their hactivism should only be a force for good.

In June 2011, 16 Anonymous members became visible for the first time when the FBI arrested them** for their role in Operation Avenge Assange. These and many nameless Anonymous members would go on to play a major role in the September 2011 Occupy protests.


*See Britain’s Famous Anarchist Superhero
**In 2014, the thirteen with outstanding charges pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and received maximum sentences of one year probation and $5600 restitution. See The Paypal 14

photo credit: Behind the Mask – Guy Fawkes 02 via photopin (license)

Pirate Bay, Wikileaks and the Swedish Pirate Party

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyword

Simon Klose (2013)

Film Review

This film’s title comes from hacker jargon – AFK (away from keyboard) means “in real life,” as opposed to “virtual.” It’s about the Swedish trial of the world’s largest file sharing site. In 2009 when the Swedish government shut them down (for the first time), TPB controlled half of all the BitTorrent* traffic internationally. The film’s main them concerns the clash of values between a younger generation adamant about Internet freedom and an older generation fixated on dominance and control and toadying to US interests.

The Birth of the Pirate Party

The four defendants in this case had immense support from Swedish youth. The Pirate Party organized numerous demonstrations and rallies in their support. Following their guilty verdict, the Pirate Party gained 10,000 new members and ultimate won two seats in the Swedish parliament.

Activists? Or Common Thieves?

Although the prosecution and judge (who just happened to be a member of the industry group the Swedish Association of Copyright) portrayed TPB defendants as common thieves, the filmmakers portray them more as Internet freedom activists. They talk about being inspired to start TPB (in 2003) after the music industry sued Napster** and shut them down and Big Pharma sued South Africa for prescribing generic antiviral drugs for AIDS patients.

One of the four defendants also started the “America’s Dumbest Soldiers” website around the same time. The site asked visitors to rate the intelligence of GI’s killed in the US occupation of Iraq. The Bush administration demanded the Swedish government shut their server down. Site administrators mounted fierce resistance. Until the whole thing became too much of a hassle and they started using the server for TPB instead.

In their defense, TPB argued their website merely providing a blank page – that the users who created the content were ultimately responsible for illegally downloading copyrighted material. They also argued that the purpose of copyright was to reward artistic creative, not to allow powerful record and motion picture companies to become filthy rich by locking up large numbers of copyrights.

TPB’s crusading spirit is clearly evident from their determination to restore the site after the Swedish government shut it down. The Pirate Party would ultimately provide servers for TPB and for Wikileaks when they came under attack from the Obama administration.

No Financial Motive Established

Although the prosecution claimed that TPB generated more than $1 million annually from ad revenue, they couldn’t produce bank records to prove this. Actual TPB revenue (from four ads) seems to have been closer to $100,000. This possibly explains the light sentences TPB defendants ultimately received.


*In the BitTorrent file distribution system, a torrent file is a computer file that contains metadata about files and folders to be distributed, as well as a list of the network locations of “trackers,” computers that help participants in the system find each other.
**Napster was a pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing service devoted to sharing audio files, typically music, encoded in MP3 format. The original company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement, ceased operations and subsequently became an online music store.

Obama’s Setback in Beijing

itsourfuture

 

Did China Just Scupper the TPPA?

The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a secret free trade treaty Obama is negotiating with eleven other Asian Pacific countries (US, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Chile, Peru, Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei). The President had hoped to seal the deal at the recent Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing. Instead all 21 Pacific Rim countries have agreed to develop a roadmap for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) treaty. The FTAAP would include China and Russia, whereas the TPPA excludes them.

China Deliberately Excluded

The TPPA is viewed as a centerpiece of Obama’s “strategic rebalancing” towards Asia. Also known as the “Asian pivot,” Obama’s intention is to counter China’s growing economic strength by isolating them economically and militarily.

The US has required the twelve countries participating in TPPA negotiations to sign a secrecy clause. Only corporations (i.e. the 600 corporations that helped write it) are allowed to see the text of the treaty. Not even Congress is permitted access. If Wikileaks hadn’t leaked large sections of the draft agreement, we wouldn’t even know it existed.

Is TPPA Really a Trade Treaty?

Scheduled to coincide with the APEC summit, November 8 was an International Day of Action against the TPPA, with major protests in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and the US. From the sections which have been leaked, it seems the TPPA isn’t a trade treaty at all. It’s really an investor protection treaty, granting corporations the right to sue countries for laws that potentially hurt their ability to make a profit. These lawsuits, involving hundreds of millions of dollars, would be heard by secret tribunals run by corporate lawyers. There would be no right of appeal.

In other words, the intent of the TPPA is to allow corporations to overturn the environmental, labor and healthy and safety laws and regulations of member countries. There’s even a special “transparency” clause inserted by the pharmaceutical industry that would allow them to challenge formularies (in the US this would include Medicaid and the VA) that promote cheaper generic medications.

If finalized, the TPPA would also allow oil and gas companies to overturn fracking bans, Monsanto to overturn GMO labeling laws, investment banks to overturn banking regulations and the telecommunications industry to overturn Net Neutrality laws.

Why the Secrecy?

It’s pretty obvious why Obama is trying to negotiate the TPPA in secret. Prior investor protection treaties (e.g. the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement) have gone down in flames thanks to massive public lashback, both in the US and in treaty partner countries.

Congress isn’t too happy, either, about being denied access to the draft TPPA treaty. In November 2013 Congress voted down Obama’s request for “fast track” authority on the TPPA. Fast track, otherwise known as Trade Promotion Authority, would require Congress to accept the final TPPA deal or reject it. No debate would be allowed on specific provisions.

There are rumors Obama plans to reintroduce TPPA fast track authority before Christmas, hoping for a better outcome with a new, pro-business Republican congress.

The POTUS also had hopes of ramming through an agreement on the TPPA treaty in Beijing, at a side meeting in the US embassy. It appears he did try and failed, as Pepe Escobar describes in a recent RT article Lame Duck Out of the Silk Trade Caravan.

The Effect on Australia and New Zealand

A trade deal that excludes China, their major trading partner, makes absolutely no sense for Australia and New Zealand. Kiwi and Aussie environmental and labor activists are also deeply concerned about signing an international agreement that allows multinational corporations to sue their governments in a secret corporate tribunal. They’ve worked damned hard to win laws and regulations guaranteeing minimal environmental, labor and health safety standards. If the TPPA goes through, these could all be wiped out with the stroke of a pen.

China Aims to Suppress US Influence in Asia

In an interview with Chinese media, Obama denies he was trying to isolate China by pressuring Asian Pacific countries to sign a secret trade deal that excludes them. Yet it’s pretty obvious to all concerned that’s exactly what he’s trying to do.

It’s also pretty clear that Chinese president Xi Jinping outmaneuvered him. In addition to getting all 21 APEC nations to sign onto an FTAAP feasibility study, China signed other trade deals geared towards reducing US dominance in the region.

On Monday the Chinese and Malaysian central banks signed a deal to establish a yuan clearing bank (to facilitate energy and other trade deals in local currencies rather than US dollars).

Russia and China signed a  similar deal to conduct oil trades in rubles and yuan, rather than US dollars. According to Russian president Vladimir Putin, the new agreement will significantly reduce US influence over world energy markets.
Back in October,

Back in October, China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a rival to the US-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

 

photo credit: rawEarth via photopin cc

Also published in Veterans Today

Banned in the USA: the Film You Didn’t See

Film Review

The War You Don’t See

Produced and directed by John Pilger

Americans now have the opportunity of seeing Australian John Pilger’s critically acclaimed The War You Don’t See on YouTube. The groundbreaking documentary was effectively banned in the US when Patrick Lannan, who funds the “liberal” Lannon Foundation, canceled the American premier (and all Pilger’s public appearances) in June 2010. Pilger provides the full background of this blatant act of censorship at his website. After watching the film, I believe its strong support of Julian Assange (who the US Department of Justice is attempting to prosecute) is the most likely reason it wasn’t shown in American theaters.

Pilger’s documentary centers around the clear propaganda role both the British and US press played in cheerleading the US/British invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It includes a series of interviews in which Pilger confronts British and American journalists (including Dan Rather) and news executives regarding their failure to give air time to weapons inspectors and military/intelligence analysts who were publicly challenging the justification for these invasions. The Australian filmmaker focuses heavily on the fabricated evidence (Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and links to 9-11) that was used to convince American and British lawmakers to go along with an illegal attack on a defenceless nation (Iraq).

Making News Executives Squirm

Pilger also confronts the British news executives (from the BBC and ITV) for reporting — unchallenged — Israeli propagandist Mark Regev regarding the May 2010 Israeli attack (in international waters) of the international peace flotilla and murder of nine Turkish peace activists (including six who were executed in the back of the head at point blank range).

Although none of the news makers offer a satisfactory explanation for their actions, British news executives show obvious embarrassment when Pilger forces them to admit they knew about opposing views and failed to offer them equal air time. In my view, the main value of the film is reminding us how essential it is to hold journalists to account for their lack of objectivity. Too many activists (myself included) have allowed ourselves to become too cynical about the mainstream media to hold individual reporters and their editors and managers accountable when they function as government propagandists instead of journalists.

The War You Don’t See was released in Britain in December 2010, in the context of a Parliamentary investigation into the Blair government’s use of manufactured intelligence to ensnare the UK into a disastrous ten year foreign war. Government/corporate censorship is far more efficient in the US, and the odds of a similar Congressional investigation occurring in the US seem extremely low.

Edward Bernays: the Public is the Enemy

The film begins with a thumbnail history of modern war propaganda, which Pilger traces back to Edward Bernays, the father of public relations. Bernays, who began his career by helping Woodrow Wilson to “sell” World War I to the American people, talks in his famous book Propaganda about the public being the “enemy” which must be “countered.”

Independent Journalism is Hazardous to Your Health

The most powerful segment features the Wikileaks gunship video released in April 2010, followed by Pilger’s interview with a Pentagon spokesperson regarding this sadistic 2007 attack on unarmed Iraqi civilians. This is followed by excerpts of a public presentation by a GI on the ground at the time of assault, who was denied permission to medically evacuate two children injured in the attack.

The documentary also focuses heavily on the Pentagon’s deliberate use of “embedded” journalists to report the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the extreme threat (often from American forces) faced by independent, non-embedded journalists. According to Pilger, a record 240 independent journalists were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Palestine, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has killed ten independent journalists since 1992. The War You Don’t See includes footage of a recent IDF attack on a Palestinian cameraman, who miraculously survived, despite losing both legs.

Pilger goes on to talk about the deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera headquarters in Kabul and Baghdad, mainly because the Arab network was the only outlet reporting on civilian atrocities. This section features excellent Al Jazeera footage of home invasions of two civilian families — in one case by British and the other by American troops — who were brutally terrorized and subjected to torture tactics.

The Interview that Got the Film Banned

The film concludes with a brief interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who discusses the increasing secrecy and failure of democratic control over the military industrial intelligence complex. Assange presents his view that this complex consists of a network of thousands of players (government employees and contractors and defense lobbyists) who make major policy decisions in their own self-interest with virtually no government oversight.

Pilger and Assange also discuss the aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers by Obama, who has the worst record of First Amendment violations of any president. They also discuss the positive implications of the willingness of military and intelligence insiders to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents. It shows clear dissent in the ranks about the blatant criminality that motivates US foreign policy decisions.

New Plymouth Hits the Street

NP TPPAphoto by Moana Williams

Thousands marched in New Zealand’s nationwide mobilization against the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on March 29, with more than a thousand in Auckland, 400 in Wellington, 200 in Hamilton and Nelson, 125 in Whangarei, 100 each in Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin, 80 in Palmerston North and New Plymouth, and 30 in Invercargill. For a small town like New Plymouth, protests this size are rare, and it got good coverage in the Taranaki Daily Newsl

The TPPA is a free trade agreement which is currently 12 countries, including the US and New Zealand, are currently negotiating behind closed doors. Up to this point, the other 11 countries have caved in to US demands that the text of the TPPA be kept secret until it’s signed. About a month ago the Malaysian government  government announced they would release the text before signing it.
.
According to draft text released by Wikileaks, the new treaty would allow corporations to sue countries in a private tribunal for any laws that interfere with their ability to do business. In New Zealand, this would undermine our access to cheap generic medication, environmental and labor regulations and reduce Internet freedom.

Like NAFTA and the WTO (World Trade Organization), the TPPA only helps corporations – it’s a pretty shitty deal for ordinary Americans.

C’mon Americans we need your support in stopping Obama from turning the global economy over to Monsanto. Go to http://www.exposethetpp.org/ to find out how you can help.

Britain’s Famous Anarchist Superhero

v for vendetta

I have spent the last few days enjoying the ten issue graphic novel whose superhero “V” wore a Guy Fawkes mask that Anonymous has adopted for their hactivist campaign against banks, defense contractors, the Pentagon, CIA and other US government sites, as well as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard for their close links to NSA and other intelligence entities (and their refusal to process Wikileaks donations after November 2010). Following the September 2011 launch of Occupy Wall Street, the stylized Guy Fawkes mask was widely adopted by the Occupy movement.

The V for Vendetta series, written between 1982 and 1985, was published in its entirety in 1988. The plot line is set in a future fascist state in the United Kingdom. A mysterious masked anarchist revolutionary superhero, who calls himself “V,” works to destroy the totalitarian government. Alan Moore, who is credited with coining the term “graphic novel” for sophisticated adult-oriented comics, is the author of V for Vendetta. David Lloyd is the illustrator responsible for the iconic image of their anarchist superhero.

Moore produced other critically acclaimed graphic novels. At least four were made into films From Hell (2001), The Watchmen (2009), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) and V for Vendetta (2005).

The film production of V for Vendetta involved many of the same filmmakers who worked on the Matrix trilogy. In addition to retelling the story of the original seventeenth century Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot (one of the first modern false flag operations), the film version includes many topical references to oppressive aspects of George W Bush’s presidency – including government surveillance, torture, media manipulation, corporate corruption and the so-called “war on terror.” It also features footage of both the war in Iraq and an anti-Iraq war demonstration, as well as references to a rabidly right wing TV network called BTN. This is believed to be a fictional version of Fox News.

It was the film version of V for Vendetta that popularized the stylized Guy Fawkes mask. According to the New York Times, it’s the number one bestselling mask on Amazon.

Although the rights to the mask belong to Time Warner, both Moore and Lloyd are pleased to see such wide use of the superhero they created in mass protests against tyranny (see Alan Moore Still Knows the Score! and V for Vendetta masks: Who).

Link to online version of V for Vendetta (the graphic novel): V for Vendetta